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Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker (Switch)

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Home Sweet Home

Posted by GG Goblin On June - 28 - 2019

There’s nothing sweet about this home.

Home is supposed to be a safe place, somewhere a person can feel relaxed and at ease. Well, there is nothing in the slightest bit relaxing when it comes to Mastiff’s Home Sweet Home which recently came to PS4 and PSVR across Europe, a stealth horror game built around Thai mythology and lore. While there may be a sense of “been there, done that” to the game, Home Sweet Home has enough scares to prevent the player ever feeling safe in their home again.

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As is often the case in this type of game, it is the sense of not knowing what is going on that keeps the player on the back foot and worrying about what is to come next. For Home Sweet Home, the story revolves around character Tim who awakens in an unfamiliar, run down building. His wife is missing and he has to find his way out. That in itself would be fairly simple were it not for the puzzles preventing progress and the various supernatural menaces that want nothing more than to give the player a heart attack.

Home Sweet Home is played out in the first person and, again not unusual, the player is given no way to really defend themselves against the various nasties that they will come across on their quest to escape and find their wife. It is a mechanic that we have seen before, designed to make the player feel vulnerable. Not to worry though, as the player can use their trusty torch to light up the darkness and provide some safety. Except it doesn’t as using the torch only emphasises the shadows, building the atmosphere of terror as the player explores.

So, when it comes to the various supernatural creatures that the player will encounter, the only real course of action is to run and hide, like a game of hide and seek with the ultimate stakes. There is a nice variety to the spooks that players will encounter in the game, all taken from Thai mythology. Collectibles hidden around the game areas give some background on these ghosties and the like, which is nice for those unfamiliar with the tales. The players biggest problem in the game will come from the young teenage girl ghost who happens to be wielding a box cutter with deadly intent. She seems to be constantly hunting the player, sometimes alerted to the players presence by other ghosts, and sometimes just appearing with no warning. Once this ghost is on the players trail, the only real thing to do is hide and wait for her to pass. Fortunately, there are usually places to hide in the game, such as lockers, and while it may be a little tiresome waiting around in the dark for this ghost to move on, it certainly makes for a tense situation.

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When the player isn’t running and hiding from spooks, they will be exploring their surroundings and solving puzzles to progress. The player will be treated to a variety of different environments that are all suitably scary and not places that anyone in their right mind would really want to visit. The settings don’t stay the same either, often changing to open up new routes, forcing the player to back track somewhat to find their way. The puzzles themselves are not too taxing, although there are a couple that will give some players cause to stop and scratch their heads.

Running at only a handful of hours playtime, Home Sweet Home is not the longest game. Frustratingly, the player will not be given much by way of closure on completing the tale, as Home Sweet Home is but the first in a series, and the game leaves the player set up for the next game. There is no set date for the next game though, so players will be left hanging.

When it comes to playing Home Sweet Home in PlayStation VR, it is a mixed bag. There is nothing better for building up a terrifying atmosphere than surrounding a players vision and closing off their ears to outside noises. The sound in Home Sweet Home is very well done and takes a minimalistic approach to terror. The voice work is not so great, but it doesn’t affect the sheer terror that can be found in VR. It looks good in VR too, if good can be translated to horrifying. However, where things slip up is when it comes to the movement. Home Sweet Home does the right thing by staggering the movement in order to cut down on potential motion sickness, but this does slow the player down, which is a problem when running away and hiding. It makes the game more complicated and frustrating than it should be.

hsh3 (Copy)

Home Sweet Home is a relatively by the numbers horror game. The Thai mythology is something different, but more detail explaining these myths would have been nice. Otherwise, it is very much something that fans of the genre would have seen before. It is all done quite well though, and while playing in VR may be a little trickier, it is certainly not for the faint-hearted. For anyone who wants to be terrified in VR, Home Sweet Home will likely scare your socks off.




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